cover image Love, Santa

Love, Santa

Martha Brockenbrough, illus. by Lee White. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-70030-6

A green foil bellyband around this book, reading “When you’re ready to share the beautiful truth about Santa,” foreshadows its important contents. When five-year-old Lucy writes her first letter to Santa, she receives a friendly reply—and a cozy red coat—on Christmas morning. Similar letters (contained in envelopes throughout the book) are exchanged each year until, at age eight, Lucy writes to her mother, instead: “Dear Mom, Are you Santa?” Her mother’s thoughtful, heartfelt response, which Brokenbrough (The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy) wrote to her own daughter and published in the New York Times in 2009, is its own bit of Christmas magic. White’s watercolor-splashed scenes are taut with emotion, capturing the joy, uncertainty, and newfound understanding of a girl who is growing up and ready to become part of Santa’s “team.” It’s an elegant, relatable, and moving depiction of a family’s negotiation of a tricky childhood rite of passage. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)